The Adventure of the Naval Treaty Quotes

Instructor: Della McGuire

Della has been teaching secondary and adult education for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Sociology, MEd in Reading, and is ABD on the MComm in Storytelling.

In this lesson, we will look at some quotes from ''The Adventure of the Naval Treaty'' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. These quotes provide some insight to the characters and the story.

Quotes as Clues

You can count on Sherlock Holmes stories to be a fun mystery with a twist, but don't forget to notice character traits and relationships, such as the ever endearing one between Holmes and Watson. Let's look at some quotes in ''The Adventure of the Naval Treaty'' that serve as examples.

The story introduces Holmes to an old school friend of Watson's who writes seeking help from his old friend's detective partner. Percy 'Tadpole' Phelps reaches out to Watson in hopes that he and Holmes can help him recover a stolen treaty he was copying at his job in the Foreign Office. It went unexpectedly missing one night and he has been sick with 'brain fever' ever since.

Holmes is intrigued when he deduces that the letter was not written by Percy. Watson is agahst, but Sherlock informs him with surety that is from ''...a woman of rare character. You see, at the commencement of an investigation it is something to know that your client is in close contact with someone who, for good or evil, has an exceptional nature. My interest is already awakened in the case. If you are ready we will start at once for Woking, and see this diplomatist who is in such evil case, and the lady to whom he dictates his letters.''

The Game is Afoot

Off on the case, Holmes and Watson go to interview their client Mr. Phelps. They are greeted by a ''rather stout man who received us with much hospitality. His age may have been nearer forty than thirty, but his cheeks were so ruddy and his eyes so merry that he still conveyed the impression of a plump and mischievous boy.''

When Holmes deduces his identity as Phelps' brother-in-law Joseph, Joseph is not impressed with Holmes. ''Our acquaintance looked surprised, and then, glancing down, he began to laugh. 'Of course you saw the J H monogram on my locket,' said he. 'For a moment I thought you had done something clever.'''

While interviewing Phelps, Holmes learns he was tasked by his uncle to copy a treaty of utmost political importance. ''When I came to examine the treaty I saw at once that it was of such importance that my uncle had been guilty of no exaggeration in what he had said.''

Phelps described the implications of the theft and the extent of his breakdown upon discovering it: ''But now there was nothing more to be done, and I had leisure to realise my position. It was horrible… I was ruined, shamefully, hopelessly ruined. I don't know what I did. I fancy I must have made a scene. I have a dim recollection of a group of officials who crowded round me, endeavouring to soothe me… The doctor most kindly took charge of me, and it was well he did so, for I had a fit in the station, and before we reached home I was practically a raving maniac.''

Sherlock Has a Rare Moment of Appreciation

During the interview, Holmes seems to drift off on a tangent in what becomes one of the most beautiful characterizations of Holmes. He ceases to be all cold logic and waxes philosophical for a brief moment, saying '''What a lovely thing a rose is!''

Watson sees Holmes holding up a rose, and notes that it ''was a new phase of his character to me, for I had never before seen him show any keen interest in natural objects.''

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